A volunteer-run shop at Kettering General Hospital is to close and be replaced with a privately-run café.
The move brings to an end a 70-year association between the hospital and the Royal Voluntary Service and means volunteers will be found other potential roles elsewhere in the hospital.
We’re very disappointed to confirm our retail services will be closing.Jen Ainsworth
It is part of a £700,000 overhaul of catering and retail facilities which will see an expansion of the current Aspens café near the main reception, a refurbishment of the snack bar Aspens 2, at the outpatients’ entrance and a short move for the shop near the main entrance to a new area currently used for admin.
Hospital chief executive David Sissling said the partnership will enable the hospital to make improvements to the café and reception area which would be difficult without outside investment.
He added: “In the current financial climate, like many other trusts, we have to prioritise investment in clinical services for patients which makes it hard for us to finance environmental improvements.
“The new partnership will enable much-needed improvements and completely refresh and modernise the hospital’s main entrance to the benefit of many thousands of patients, visitors and staff.”
The hospital says food prices will be set at similar rates to those already in place.
The Telegraph was contacted by a number of RVS volunteers who said they were disappointed that they were being moved out of their shop and had been given very little notice of the changes.
Last year, the RVS donated more than £100,000 to the hospital.
Jen Ainsworth, from the RVS, formerly known as the WRVS, said: “We’re very disappointed to confirm our retail services at Kettering General Hospital will be closing.
“We are currently talking to the trust about how we can work together to continue our support for people in the hospital.”